Elephant poaching has been ongoing for decades. In 1945, there were over 45 million wild elephant compared with about 450,000 today. Mike Jankowski joined the army in 1992 and was on anti-poaching assignment in 1996. He joined us and talked about the multi-faceted problem of poaching as well as his own stories while involved in anti-poaching efforts.
Ever wonder how scientists learn about other planets? Tune in this week as Dr. Krista Soderland,
from the Institute of Geophysics here at UT, joins us to talk about her work
exploring the solar system. Krista works
specifically with modelling how other nearby planets generate their magnetic
fields, which might surprise you with their diversity! She also shares her experience travelling to
Antarctica and how that relates to possibly finding extraterrestrial life on
one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa.
The Daily Texan, the University of Texas’s student daily,
hosts a weekly science news column, Science Scene. With contributors from both graduate and
undergraduate over a range of scientific disciplines, Science Scene provides a
unique and perspective on science news pertinent to the local community but
also the rest of the country. Robert
Starr, Paepin Goff, and Hellen Airhart sit down with us in the booth to talk
about the writing process, finding stories, while the Albino Squirel isn’t
really albino, and other tidbits of science communication.
Max Parks joins the weekly Monday night science party to
share his experience working at Moon Express, one of many companies around the
world competing for the Google Lunar X Prize.
The Lunar X Prize is a 30 million dollar award for the first private
company to land a rover on the Moon, have it travel 500 yards, all while live
streaming the journey back to viewers on Earth.
Tune in to learn about what the future of space travel will look like,
what minerals we will find on the Moon, and the possible future decline of the
need of science communicators.
(Hopefully not too soon!)
‘They Blinded Me with Science’ is joined this evening by
Behavioral Ecology doctorial student Tracy Burkhard. Tracy studies vocal communication in mammals,
but her favorite subjects are singing mice.
Tracy’s research has taken her from the laboratories of UT to the
mountains of Costa Rica in search of these crooning mammals. Join us as we discuss how mice not only claim
territory but also flirt with their potential mates through song, Tracy
describes some of her more interesting mice hunting adventures, and the crew
practices singing some of their favorite mouse songs!
On this episode we're joined by University of Texas at Austin computer science PhD student, Siavash Mirarab, whose research focuses on large-scale phylogenetics. Siavash and his advisor Tandy Warnow developed a new technique for estimating evolutionary relationships ("statistical binning") that enabled an international consortium of researchers to redraw the bird family tree. He talks about this part of his PhD work which was recently published in Science magazine. Join us to learn about the computational side of biology, where complex models and methodologies are used to understand evolution from Slavish Mirarab.
Shalene Jha’s research group at UT-Austin conducts research on plant and pollinator landscape ecology, plant and pollinator population genetics and disease ecology, and how land use impacts critical ecological processes for native plants and their pollinators. Postdoctoral researcher Hollis Woodard and PhD students Nate Pope, Sarah Cusser, and Kim Ballare joined us to talk about native bee natural history, the evolution of sociality in bees, pollination ecology, and how agricultural development and urban landscapes affect native bee populations. Tune in to learn about how important and amazing native bees are!
Rebecca Tarvin’s doctoral research focuses on the evolution of chemical defense and resistance to self-intoxication in poison frogs (Dendrobatidae), which are native to Central and South America. Chemically defended poison frogs sequester distasteful alkaloids from insects in their diet and secrete these chemicals from dermal glands for defense. Dendrobatids are often brightly colored to warn potential predators, and the levels of toxicity vary considerably from one species to the next and from one population to another. Rebecca discusses her work on how the genetic and physiological basis of alkaloid resistance relate to phylogenetic and ecological patterns across Dendrobatidae. Tune in to learn about how poison frogs evolved the ability to resist their own toxins!
PhD candidate Kristina Serrato from the High Intensity Laser Science Group at UT Austin talks to us about her research on lasers, light, optics, plasma and the associated instruments used to measure these phenomena. She detailed the difference between laser plasma research and how this differs from traditional plasma research used to investigate conditions on stars. Her PhD work focuses on the interaction between lasers that have wavelengths of one micron and their interaction with single objects that are comparable in size to that wavelength. Listen to this episode to gain insight on instrumentation, logistics, and the research output associated with experimental physicist, Kristina Serrato.
Science journalist Hilary Anderson from EarthSky took the time to chat with us about science-based communication, outreach, and writing. In today’s day and age, considering the complexities of cutting-edge research and the ever-increasing role of technology in our day-to-day lives, science communication is very important. Hilary talks to us about “translating” science to the wider public and discusses the potential of social media in aiding this process. It was refreshing (and sobering) to gain insight into the science communication world from a journalist POV. Tune in to listen to Hilary Anderson and as a scientist, learn why explaining your research to “your 96-year old grandmother” is important!